Our View: What is western Nevada County doing well?
May 19, 2017
What do you think?
What are your thoughts? What are we, here in the western Nevada County community, doing well?
Share your responses via email at EditBoard@TheUnion.com and we’ll share them on these pages.
A few weeks back we asked members of The Union's Editorial Board for their thoughts on the most-pressing problem in the community. This week, we asked, "What is western Nevada County is doing well?"
Lynn Wenzel — What I find most meaningful (and great) about Nevada County is the system of support and care that exists between neighbors, friends and even residents who don't know each other. We gather for the good of all in every emergency for those in need (witness the Oroville Dam emergency this winter). I am also heartened by the development (albeit slow) of the availability of high speed internet and the Green Screen campus. These actions will lure more young families to the beauty of our forests, lakes, streams and meadows. I also really appreciate the large arts community that affords everyone the opportunity to participate in big-city type experiences — concerts, art galleries, literary salons and other creative groups. Thanks Nevada County!
Paul Matson — There is something new being considered, and it's very good. The California Arts Council is creating Cultural Districts. We are semifinalists. Our proposed district would encompass both Grass Valley and Nevada City. It would shine a brighter light on our rich history — mining, the Chinese and our original residents before the miners arrived. Artistically, our performance venues will be featured, plus the performance, visual and literary arts. One day there might be some funding as well. Both cities, our venues, artists and the Nevada County Arts Council have worked hard on this application. A nice side benefit, as someone said at the reception last week, "It's great to be working together!"
Ross Maak — Arguments break out over everything from politics to education to marijuana to homelessness to the environment to property rights to animals to sports. That represents a community that cares. Apathy is a considerably worse problem than passion, and this community is far from apathetic. When the rubber meets the road, I've never lived in a place that rallies around its own — and everyone else — like this one. One small example was the Oroville Dam crisis. The fairgrounds turned into a refugee camp and when organizers got word out they needed something, that thing appeared in droves. None of us want to be the one who needs help, but if we ever find ourselves in dire straits, there's no place I'd rather live.
Rachel Helm — What I love most about our community is how we come together in times of strife. Small-town communities are known for this and Nevada County is an excellent example. We may be passionate about our politics but that passion pales in comparison to our compassion for others in times of need. This compassion isn't just towards our own. Who can forget the outpouring of support and downright adoration shown to the firefighters that were staying at the fairgrounds during one of California's worst wildfire seasons? My favorite quote was a plea from a Cal Fire chief: "Please, no more cookies!"
Norm Sauer — Ah, western Nevada County! It is a unique area within progressive California where a good number of people still: (1) value 'the family'; (2) raise children to respect their mother and father who fulfill their traditional roles; (3) respect public, charter and school choice; (4) preach and live Judeo-Christian values, (5) believe in our Constitution and the rule of law; (6) respect and love their neighbors; (7) believe achievement comes when merited; and (8) know in their hearts that America is good and exceptional as the last bastion of liberty and freedom in the world.
Alan Riquelmy — Nevada County has a politically diverse population that regularly makes its voice heard. No other place I've lived in has a community this involved in its government. A highly engaged electorate ensures our local leaders stay attuned to its wants and needs. If these leaders fail in that respect, a replacement awaits. Blame in a stagnant or unresponsive local government rests only with a citizenry that doesn't act. Our county regularly has some of the highest percentage of voters casting ballots. We must maintain this level of community engagement and instill the next generation with it as well.
Robert O'Brien — A number of groups and individuals are not waiting for the Board of Supervisors to discuss certain health and safety issues: homelessness, cell towers, the dangers of EMFs (electro magnetic frequencies) and smart meters. Also, people are talking about the safety of Highway 49 and NID's proposed new dam on the Bear River: all of this is good. The number of organic farms and restaurants is a wonderful blessing, along with the four organic food markets in the area. For healthy foodies, this is the place to live! We are also blessed with our great outdoors of rivers, lakes, open spaces, and hiking and biking trails.
Mike Dobbins — Western Nevada County finds itself in change and rebirth. After the region's only industry — real estate and housing — collapsed, and with it jobs and ancillary entities, we are returning to stability but with a different complexion. Instead of the exploding, "anything goes" mentality of 70s and 80s, political entities are making the effort not to control it, but guide it. Bringing all interests to the same table to discuss, plan and compromise creates a sense of investment, rather than resentment. The best example is the collection of interests surrounding commercial and residential growth in county's western regions, and the various cannabis factions working to define and regulate that burgeoning industry. We learn from our mistakes.
Mary Anne Davis — There are so many wonderful things about our community, but one stands out to me. There is a level of compassion in our community that I don't suspect you find in many other communities. When someone is in need, this community rallies around them in a heartbeat. Whether it's emergency housing for potential flooding victims (human and animal) in the valley, a fundraiser for a family with a terminally ill child, or groups out searching for a missing person, this community shows its support. It's nice to know I live in such a supportive community should I face adversity and need assistance.
Don Rogers — This community has a lot of devoted and energetic volunteers. These are big pluses. It shows people care. We do events well, with farmers markets, the downtown festivities in Grass Valley and Nevada City, the film festivals, the music festivals. We have a high rate of voting and people on the left and right are passionate about their causes. There's a deep sense of history here and residents are smart and friendly. Also, there are more bookstores, poets and writers per capita than anywhere. That alone is pretty awesome. And self-serving, but the local paper is better than most, too.
Megan Ross — Education. Although the high school has seen declining enrollment over the last 15 years, it's incredible to see the opportunities still available to students. The four pillars: academics, arts, athletics and activities continue to thrive. Students are involved in everything from small learning communities, to an array of advanced placement classes to a growing number of career technical education courses. In addition, students run 32 different clubs, compete on 24 athletic teams and take a variety of electives in the visual and performing arts. Students and staff are also fortunate to also have the support of the local business community.
Stan Meckler — Western Nevada County is still one of the friendliest small towns I have visited. Before I came up here I traveled to all 50 states as part of my job. Small towns have always been friendly, but I kept being drawn back here because of the people, the weather and all the outdoor activities within easy driving distance. We love it here.
Brian Hamilton — Community. More than anything else, we do "community" very well. When we move beyond political labels and lenses to focus on our own community, it's clear we care about each other and this place we're privileged to call home. Our sense of community is an actual asset that should be leveraged to move forward on the many challenges we face. Shedding stereotypes and encouraging inclusion among all — not just those with whom we agree and look like — makes us smarter, more compassionate and, ultimately, a stronger community in the long run.
The weekly Our View column represents the consensus opinion of The Union Editorial Board, a group of editors and writers from The Union, as well as informed community members. Contact the board at EditBoard@TheUnion.com.
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